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More attention should be focussed on coal project

John Snyder, Alberni Valley Times, August 14, 2012

I took the opportunity to attend the recent Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) AGM to listen to any comments they might have on the proposed coal port designated for Port Alberni. Much to my surprise, not one word was mentioned about the proposed coal port during their presentation.

During the question and answer period, I asked if any PAPA staff members had reviewed the now finalized AIR/ EIS guidelines document for the Raven Coal mine project to analyze if the 73 comments/concerns they submitted as part of the drafting of the AIR/EIS had been adequately addressed in the final version. The answer from the new PAPA CEO Zoran Knezevic was, "I'll get back to the community on that."

It's hard for me to imagine how they could hire a consultant to review the numerous revisions of the draft AIR/EIS document, submit comments on their concerns (total of 73 comments) on the deficiencies in the document, and then once it's finalized, not have the foresight to have a consultant or staff member review the finalized document and report to the PAPA on the adequacy of the document and whether or not their concerns had been addressed.

In fairness, Mr. Knezevic has only been on the job for a short time, but with the proposed coal port being such a high profile issue in the community, more attention needs to be focused on the role of the PAPA in the environmental assessment process, the PAPA involvement needs to be more transparent, and any PAPA concerns about the project should be made public.

John Snyder,
Fanny Bay

© Alberni Valley Times 2012